Funding Information Portal

The Funding Information Portal at UNC-Chapel Hill is considered the collective “go-to” source for locating potential research funding opportunities. The Funding Information Portal staff provides faculty, staff, and graduate students assistance and instruction on how to navigate many fund-finding resources, including:

Is it a “Gift” or “Sponsored Support”?

(and, why is that distinction so important?)

In general, a gift indicates there are no expectations in return. It is, essentially, a donation. Other forms of sponsored research, however, such as grants, contracts, cooperative agreements, etc., indicate there are expectations by the sponsor in exchange for the support provided. The University and the sponsoring agency are legally bound to uphold these expectations (commonly referred to as “deliverables”) which are specifically defined by each party in a written agreement. Thus, when making the determination between a “gift” and “sponsored support,” there are three basic questions to ask:

If you answer ‘Yes’ to ONE OR MORE of these questions, then the funding is considered “sponsored support” and should be processed through the Office of Sponsored Research (OSR).


1. Does the funding agency expect you to provide deliverable(s)?

If yes, then contact OSR.

Examples of Deliverables:

  • Stewardship entails providing:
    • Names of scholarship recipients
    • Summary of how the funds were expended
    • Brief report evaluating program outcomes
  • Deliverable entails providing:
    • Product
    • Service
    • Technical or scientific report(s)
    • Intellectual property rights
    • Fiscal reports (including invoices) and audits

2. Does the funding agency expect you to enter into a written agreement that is legally enforceable?

If yes, then contact OSR.

A written agreement may contain . . .

  • Administrative terms and conditions for use of the funds
  • Provisions for intellectual property
  • Provisions for reporting
  • Provisions for publication rights
  • Any other legal provision

3. Is there a specific and expected return in exchange for the funding?

If yes, then contact OSR.

Failure to provide these deliverables could result in unfavorable consequences to UNC-Chapel Hill.